1.1 Background Information to the Study
The very fi rst sketch of the content and possible research questions and hypotheses of this study evolved during the years 1995–2000 when I was running a Master of Education program (M.Ed.) in Educational Management and Planning and a Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in Human Resources Management Technology. At the time, I was a part-time lecturer at the University of Calabar, Yenagoa Study Center, and the College of Health Technology Port Harcourt, in Nigeria. My experiences from that period provided the background and aroused my interest in pursuing a Doctor of Education degree in order to do research on school effectiveness and quality improvement in Nigeria with focus on Academic and Professional Qualifi cation on Teachers Job Effectiveness (APQTJE), as limited academic materials concerning this area in Nigeria seem to exist. The doctoral degree is designed to prepare students for advanced professional practice directed mainly toward the application or transmission of existing knowledge. As a professional degree, it focuses on the utilization of research knowledge by those who aspire for leadership positions as administrators, policy analysts and curriculum designers. It also follows my exposure to the Finnish teacher education program that has given me a wealth of knowledge concerning the standards and values of teachers’ effectiveness. As a result, this study came about mostly after a detailed examination of the right segment of the Nigerian economy that required quality improvement for the enhancement of developmental growth, which explains the title of this dissertation. In a study conducted by the researcher in 1997, it was observed that educators in Nigeria have forgotten the important connection between teachers and students and how good teachers carry out their duties more effectively in meet2 Nwachukwu Prince Ololube
ing the predetermined goals of education. In addition, it was observed that in Nigeria and in most developing nations the problem is not designing beautiful programs for national development but implementing them. According to Thomas Poetter, we overlook the treasure in our very own backyard: our students. Student perceptions are valuable to our practice because they are authentic sources of fi rst-hand experiences in our classrooms. As teachers, we need to fi nd ways to continually seek out these silent voices because they can teach us much about learning and learners (Poetter, 1997). Admittedly, there is more to teaching than feeling affection for children. Yet without love and an eagerness to serve schoolchildren well, teaching loses its heart. Moreover, when teachers forget that children come fi rst, their students and society are in serious danger. Therefore, teachers in schools are both among the most powerful and the most stressed adults in the world. They are powerful because of their infl uence over young minds, and they are stressed because of the responsibilities that are often out of proportion to their authority (Clark, 1995). The reality is that schools will change and develop only if the teachers within the institutions are empowered to develop themselves (Bayne-Jardine, 1994; Doyle & Hartle, 1985). Furthermore, realizing from the onset the importance of education, Lawal (2003) points out that “Education is a powerful instrument of social progress without which no individual can attain professional development.” It then follows that the best way to enhance instruction is through teacher education programs, which are key to understanding both teaching and learning. Such programs are meant to help individual teachers grow and develop as teachers, provide them with the skills and professional abilities to motivate children to learn, and to assist them in acquiring the right understanding of the concepts, values, and attitudes needed, not only to manage classroom instruction but also to contribute to the society in which they are born, grow, and...
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